Category Archives: Conversions

Forgotten Heroes 2018 Submission 2: The Plant Man!

I’m trying to get three submissions in for the Forgotten Heroes challenge this month, and here is number two. If you found Water Wizard to be a bit of a tool, well, congratulations. You’re a great judge of character. But Water Wizard lives life like a boss compared to this guy:

Behold! The Plant Man!

Samuel Smithers was a gardener who wanted to invent a way to talk to plants, so naturally he built himself a ray gun. It didn’t work until one day it was struck by lightning, which somehow charged it with the ability to control and animate plants (I’m not making this up). His boss fired him for working on his ray gun instead of pruning the bushes (which was his job), so Smithers put on a costume, called himself the Plant Man, and vowed revenge. Unfortunately, he met the Human Torch, who quickly put an end to Plant Man’s scheme and destroyed his ray gun.

Months later, he built a better ray gun, which was also presumably struck by lightning and imbued with (better) plant-controlling power. He tried to kill the Human Torch, but failed and went to the slammer, where he was recruited by Count Nefaria; along with the Porcupine, the Eel, and the Scarecrow. (This Scarecrow is not to be confused with the cool Batman villain with the fear gas, and certainly not to be confused with the coolest crow of them all… Carrion Crow.  This is Marvel’s Scarecrow. A significantly less-cool crow.)

Any one of these jokers would be prime fodder for Forgotten Heroes, as they’re all remarkably bad at their chosen criminal profession. But I digress.

Plant Man eventually ran afoul of the Avengers and SHIELD, after he took over a SHIELD base with a 100′ tall plant monster and a bunch of plant copies of himself. That’s about where I lost track of him.

To make this conversion, I used two Heroclix figures: Jack O’Lantern and an Intergang Medic. I needed the Medic’s head on Jack’s body. I also removed Jack from his hover disk and rebased him on some plain old MDF.

Then I set about adding the green stuff. I said it before and I’ll admit it again, sculpting is not my strong suit. Many thanks to Roger, a.k.a. Dick Garrison, for taking the time to give me some advice on how to work with this hellish substance.

Lucky for me, all I really needed to do was sculpt Plant Man’s ridiculous headdress and some plant fringes around his collar, shoulders and legs. (I forgot his gloves, but whatever.) Since Plant Man’s powers all come from his ray gun, I attached a Rogue Trader-era bolt pistol (minus clip) to his thigh.

I posed him next to some killer plants, last seen in my Poison Ivy post.

Tremble in fear, for the Plant Man cometh!

I must confess I have an ulterior motive for converting Plant Man. He actually appears as a villain in an old TSR Marvel Super Heroes module, The Last Resort, which I plan on tinkering with for Super Mission Force. Originally, I was just going to replace him with another sucky bad guy, but Forgotten Heroes has given me the excuse to put some effort into making an actual Plant Man miniature!

Hopefully I can get my third submission in by the end of the month, but it will require more precise sculpting with the dreaded green stuff. I’ll do my best!

Forgotten Heroes 2018, Submission 1: The Water Wizard!

It’s June, which means it’s time for Forgotten Heroes!

Last year my fellow miniatures enthusiast Carrion Crow invited me to take part in the Forgotten Heroes challenge. I played hard to get at first, but then when I saw how much fun it was going to be, I begged him to let me take part. He graciously agreed. I converted and/or repainted the entire Liberty Legion, along with special guests Spirit of ’76, Patriot, Union Jack and Bucky! This year, I’m hoping to submit three Forgotten Heroes, not a whole team. So, without further ado, here’s the first:

 

The Water Wizard is a really lame Marvel villain with water powers. In fact, it turns out he can control almost any liquid, not just water. You would think this would make him pretty powerful, but Water Wizard is an idiot. In 1977, he made his debut in the Ghost Rider comic book and promptly got his clock cleaned by Ghost Rider, both in his initial appearance and pretty much every time they met after that.

He actually fought some other Marvel good guys, like Captain America, with predictable results (he lost). He was recruited by criminal financier and Hugh Hefner lookalike, Justin Hammer, but ran away when he had to fight Iron Man.

After a while, Water Wizard changed his name to Aqueduct, which is an even dumber name than Water Wizard, and tried to continue his criminal ambitions. Instead he joined the Thunderbolts and that’s about when I lost track of him.

To make this conversion, I used three figures. Because I never throw anything out, I had a headless Quicksilver left over from when I made Jack Frost in my first Forgotten Heroes challenge last year. . He’s been grotesquely hanging around in a corner of my hobby space since then. I thought that the head of the Weather Wizard (similar name, different publisher, equally lame bad guy) would look pretty good on the body. His  hair is already blowing around, so it would match pretty well with the running pose. For added effect, I thought I would use this water spume on the Aquaman figure for something…

An idea took shape. I re-headed and rebased the miniature, and sculpted his fashionable hip waders out of green stuff. (A side note: I suck at sculpting anything. This is problematic, as my next Forgotten Heroes submissions will require much more sculpting. Thus I have sought the aid and advice of a sculptor extraordinaire to guide my efforts henceforth…)

I removed the cumbersome Aquaman model from the water spout and attached it to a base of green stuff sculpted to look like water (I can handle that much). Now it looks like the water is moving with him. Then I painted the model to resemble Water Wizard.

Hi running pose actually looks pretty accurate. I only have to face him away from any hero model since Water Wizard often flees. I don’t have a Daredevil-like sense of touch, so I couldn’t tell if the diagonal slash on Quicksilver’s costume was raised or if it was just a painted on until I painted over it. Turns out it’s actually part of the sculpt, which is unfortunate, as you can still barely see it through my paint. Also, I now have a headless Weather Wizard where my headless Quicksilver used to be.

Forgotten Heroes 2018 submission 1: complete!

 

 

Varg Bonebreaka: Orc Warlord on War Wyvern

To finish off Monster Month, I present a  monster miniature that is finally seeing paint after almost THIRTY YEARS in my “to-do pile”!

It’s an old Warhammer Orc Shaman on War Wyvern, circa 1990 or thereabouts. I got him on the secondary market sometime in the mid-nineties. Originally, he was to be for use with my Warhammer Fantasy Orc & Goblin Army, but I wanted to use the wyvern as a mount for an army general, Varg Bonebreaka,  rather than a shaman (more on this later). Before I could do more than buy the bitz and start the conversion, though, several things happened.

  1. Mounting characters on monsters fell out of favor, if not with the entire WFB community, then certainly with my WFB gaming group. The focus of WFB became more about troops than super, unit-killing characters. A positive change, I would say.
  2. I stopped playing “special characters” in my army, for the same reason as above.
  3. I got distracted by something else. I don’t know what. It could have been a bright spot of reflected light shining onto the wall, for all I know. More likely it was my 40K Mordian Iron Guard.

Eventually, around 2003 or thereabouts, I ceased playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40K altogether. This miniature, along with all my others, languished in storage until around 2010 or so, when I started painting miniatures again.

The mounted shaman miniature is perfectly acceptable, in a “I’m holding two weapons parallel to my body within my frontal plane” kind of way (typical of GW of the time). He just wasn’t all that exciting. For my general, Varg,  I decided to use the original Morglum Necksnapper model as the base of the conversion.  You can see in the picture below how the original model looked way back when. I intended to mount the shaman on Morglum’s boar, since he wouldn’t be using it. I still haven’t got around to that yet, either.

I purchased all the bitz I needed for the conversion from a GW rep who came by my FLGS in the “Bitz Wagon”. I bought a dwarf casualty for the base, as my Orcs & Goblins often faced off against my friend’s Dwarfs. (Yes, I wanted to irritate him.) I got rid of Morglum’s axes, as I hated how they looked, and replaced one with a double-edged Chaos axe. I decided I was going to give him a long spear in his other hand, as he would be pretty high up on that wyvern and wouldn’t be able to reach his opponents with anything else. For that, I used a lance from an old Skeleton Horsemen box. Finally, I ditched Morglum’s banner poles and replaced them with the back banner from an old Skaven model, Queek Head-Taker.

Then I let him sit there in the Insanity Pile, untouched, for almost 30 years. When Monster Month rolled around, he wasn’t hard to find.

Here are the results. Because of the large amount of conversion on the orc, I needed to paint them separately prior to assembly. This is actually the first time I mounted a model on something to handle it while painting (I usually just hold it between my fingers). The wooden “plant pot” was intended to provide some stability, but it didn’t do much as the model kept falling over whenever I accidentally hit it (which was often). After the third time fixing the spear, I got wise and glued it to this coffee can lid for added stability.

I don’t go in for the double banners on the wyvern’s back, because I think it looks stupid. Also, I suck at making banners. I opted to add some severed heads from an old GW zombie sprue instead.

I couldn’t find the “back end” of the lance pole. It disappeared some time in the last 25+ years or so. Instead I used a piece of plastic rod. I thought it looked kind of boring, so I added this scythe blade from a GW zombie sprue to the end, turning it into a nasty, unique-looking pole-arm.

I drilled a couple of holes in the wyvern’s flank and added some arrows. Monsters, and the generals on them, tend to attract missile fire.

My friend’s Dwarfs, IIRC, were painted in a green color scheme. I decided to paint this dwarf blue to make him really stand out against the grass and under the wyvern’s claw. The broken barrel is from an Army Painter basing kit.

At last, some final pictures of the complete wyvern with the rider. I give you Varg Bonebreaka, a name inscribed forever in the Book of Grudges many times over! WAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!

Makes me wish I still played Warhammer.

This model took me longer than I thought to complete, so I’m glad I started when I did. Unfortunately, I still have a few monsters that aren’t quite finished, and the end of Monster Month is nigh! Oh well. Perhaps I will finish them up soon, and post them as an intermission during next month’s Forgotten Heroes challenge!

 

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 8

Miniatures Purchased: 0

Total: +8

Gaslands 6: Grond: Going Big with the WAR RIG!

Well, the end of April brings me to the end of my Gaslands posts, at least for now. I’ve saved the best for last: ladies and gentlemen of the wasteland, I present Grond, the war rig! (The Tolkien-philes among you may recognize the name Grond: it’s the name of the huge battering ram the forces of Sauron used to sunder the gates at the siege of Minas Tirith. I feel it is an appropriate name for my rolling death machine.)

From the moment I first read the Gaslands rulebook, I knew I needed to make a war rig: a big, diesel-burning armored machine of death to crush my enemies, see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of the women. Originally, I wanted my armored bus Marstorius to be a war rig, but there’s one small problem with that: although Marstorius is certainly big enough for a war rig, it is not articulated; meaning it has no separate cab and trailer. It’s all one piece. Whether or not a war rig is articulated is a pretty big deal in the game, as it affects such things as hazard tokens and vehicle orientation.

 

I started with this Hot Wheels truck. It was the most money I spent on a Gaslands car thus far: almost $7.00 brand new. In my haste to get started, I neglected to take a picture of it before I started work. So here’s a YouTube video review of it by a somewhat enthusiastic Hot Wheels aficionado. You may notice it comes with a another car (Maybe it could be a performance car, see below), so I guess for seven bucks it wasn’t a bad deal.

I wanted to use a flatbed-style truck because I wanted to have a turret-mounted flamethrower, and I didn’t like the look of it on top of a full-sized trailer. It just looked too high up.  The flatbed seems pretty unprotected, however, so I started armoring up the sides. Before I got started, I built my flamethrower turret and made sure it fit inside the bed.

The side rails are coffee stirrers. The flamethrower turret was made from a couple of rubber faucet gaskets, a fender washer, a lock washer and an axle nut, much the same as the turret on my monster truck, Rock-n-rolla. The flamethrower itself came from a Imperial Guard Sentinel sprue (I think). I decided to use a GW oil can as a fuel source and clipped some old speaker wire to use as hoses. I cut slots in the rubber gasket to accommodate the wires; that way it would look like the barrel was supplying oil to the turret through the hoses.

I applied some wire mesh, craft foam and plasticard as armor plating, mounted a GW heavy bolter to the cab roof, and a plow blade from a Tonka bulldozer I got at a flea market. A war rig has the most build slots of any vehicle in Gaslands, a whopping 5. The flamethrower took up 2, the machine gun and the plow took up one each. That left me with one more build slot. I could just use the extra armor, but a war rig doesn’t really need any more armor. As you can see, I have a lot of room left in the bed of the truck, so I started thinking about a mine dropper.

Instead of traditional mines, I thought it would be cool if Grond dropped explosive barrels off of his tailgate whenever any pursuers got too close for comfort. I had some of these old barrels around and they fit the bed of the truck perfectly, so I painted them in the ubiquitous “explosive barrel” color scheme familiar to anyone who plays first-person shooter video games.

One may question the wisdom of having a 360° flamethrower operating in close proximity to volatile, explosives-filled barrels; but I can assure you not one crewmember aboard Grond ever thought twice about it. Not for a second. What could go wrong?

Here’s a close-up of the bed of the truck. I’m quite happy with the way the flamethrower turret and the barrels came out.

Here’s the back. The bars were made with coffee stirrers (a different kind), the sign from a piece of craft foam. If you take an explosive barrel to the face, you can’t say you weren’t warned.

And a close-up of the front. I considered writing some pithy statement on the blade, like “Here I Come!”, but decided against it, as it would have to be written backwards in order to be read in a rear-view mirror. If you were actually facing Grond, you wouldn’t need to be told as you would see it coming, thus rendering any warning somewhat superfluous. So I drew this dead smiley face instead.

The finished product: Grond, the war rig!!

Painting for all my Gaslands vehicles is pretty much the same. I used a mix of Cote D’Arms, Games Workshop, Reaper and Vallejo paints. Grond’s body is based with The Fang (GW), with a highlight of Shadow Grey (CD), then given a wash of Nuln Oil (GW). The armor plating was painted with either Gunmetal Grey (V), Gun Metal (CD) or Tin Bitz (GW) before being washed with Armor Wash (CD). The machine gun and the plow were painted Adamantite Black (R) and dry-brushed with Necron Compound (GW) and Tin Bitz (GW) before given a wash of  Nuln Oil (GW). I used some Typhus Corrosion (GW) and Stirland Mud (GW) on the tires, wheel wells and the plow. Lastly, I used some MIG rust pigment on the armor, wheels and body.

Well, that about does it for Gaslands for now. I want to focus on some other projects and perhaps get some actual games in before I start on any new cars and/or terrain. One thing I didn’t build were any performance cars, which are a separate type of vehicle that is really good at evading collisions. They can reach the highest gear, which allows them to activate more often than most other vehicle types. They tend to be more elegant and less rusty and Mad Max-y then the other cars; more finesse than brawn. Perhaps in the future I’ll convert some performance cars, but other than that, I think I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got so far: seven cars, two buggies, a monster truck, an armored bus and a war rig.

Next post: May is Monster Month!

Gaslands 5: Sunday!!! Sunday!!! SUNDAAAAAAY!!!!!!!

I’m unsure about the rest of the world, but those of us who live in the USA periodically have these things come to town called “Monster Truck Rallies.” Basically, they fill an arena with loose mud and junk cars and unleash monster trucks to crush, spindle and mutilate everything they possibly can in the span of a few hours or so.

It’s not my thing. At all. Then again, not everyone likes bagpipes, so YMMV. Different strokes, as they say. Live and let live. Judge not lest ye be judged, and all that.

Often, these monster truck rallies are accompanied by loud music and scantily-clad women and are usually hosted by local radio personalities or former WWE or NASCAR “superstars”. As the title of this post implies, these events tend to take place on a certain day of the week. Watch this video, which is a parody (but isn’t far off the mark), and you’ll get the idea.

Sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, Wal-Mart and Bud Light. Priceless. (I know I said I wouldn’t judge. I lied.)

You can find actual monster truck commercials elsewhere on YouTube, lest you think I’m being unduly critical. (Here’s one.) In short, it’s shitkicker heaven; a pageant of redneckery that I believe is somewhat unique to America. It is less popular in the region where I live than in other parts of the country, and it’s not something that has ever interested me in the slightest.

Until now.

Ladies and gentlemen of the wasteland: I present my Gaslands Monster Truck: Rock-n-rolla!!!!

You may recall from my last post that Rock-n-rolla began as a Ford F-150 Hot Wheels car. I de-riveted it and applied some wire mesh to the windows before re-assembling the chassis.  My initial purchase of cars was a grab-bag at a thrift store, which included a junky military SUV of a larger scale. I promptly cannibalized it for its roof-mounted gun, but as I looked at my disassembled pickup, I suddenly realized that the SUV didn’t really need it’s wheels anymore, either. A quick fit-check and some minor alterations to the pickup chassis, and….Rock-n-rolla was born!

Time for MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS!!!!!

For some reason, a monster truck only has 2 build slots in Gaslands, which is the same as a car or buggy. (If I had left it a pickup, it would have 3 build slots.) I guess this is done for game balance, because a monster truck simply runs over anything it collides with (see above video). The point is I didn’t have much to work with as far as weaponry was concerned, so I gave it what I could.

I built the minigun turret out of a gasket, fender washer and axle nut glued to some corrugated plasticard. It fit snugly in the bed of the truck. For the actual gun, I could have used the gun I pulled off the SUV, but instead I raided an unopened box of Wargames Factory Shock Trooper Heavy Weapons Teams  for the double minigun. This is the first time I went outside the bitz box for something, but I think it was worth it.

Here is the finished result:

I put a ram on the front end, but I used an extra shield I had from a unit of Black Tree Ironclad Dwarfs. I like the fist emblem; it seems to fit a monster truck ram nicely. I added some armor purely for aesthetics, as Rock-n-rolla has no more build slots to spend on armor. Thus, no game effect; it just looks cool.

Here’s a shot of Rock-n-rolla next to my first car build, Coughin’ Joe. As you can see, he’s much taller, as a monster truck should be, thanks to the wheels I purloined from the larger-scale SUV.

 

For those interested in the painting/weathering process, it’s pretty standard by now if you’ve read any of my other Gaslands posts. I used a mix of Cote D’Arms, Games Workshop, Reaper and Vallejo paints. Rock-n-Rolla’s body is based with Twilight Blue (R), with a highlight of Lupin Grey (CD), then given a wash of Nuln Oil (GW). The armor plating was painted with either Gunmetal Grey (V), Gun Metal (CD) or Tin Bitz (GW) before being washed with Armor Wash (CD). The gun turret was painted Adamantite Black (R) and dry-brushed with Necron Compound (GW) before given a wash of  Nuln Oil (GW). I used some Typhus Corrosion (GW) near the armor plating to further the grimy look, and I used copious amounts of Stirland Mud (GW) on the tires and undercarriage. Lastly, I used some MIG rust pigment on the armor, hubcaps and body.

I never thought I would ever say this in my life, but I think this monster truck is pretty cool!

I’m hoping to have my final (for now) Gaslands post up by the end of the month, as I have some big plans for May. I’ve saved the best for last, or at least the biggest for last….

Bigger than Rock-n-rolla? Yep.

Bigger than Marstorius?

Oh, yes…

 

Gaslands 4: Cars Galore!

After building one car, a couple of buggies and my armored bus, I realized I needed more cars, as one car does not a wasteland racing team make. Here’s what I started with:

Three cars, including a classic ’57 Chevy, and a Ford F150 pickup (the preferred vehicle of the Angry Piper’s brother).

This was the first time I needed to de-rivet the cars, as most of them had open windows and I wanted to add some wire mesh to the inside before I repainted them. I found this how-to video on Youtube from, of all people, Mike Hutchinson, the creator of Gaslands, wherein he shows you exactly how quick and easy it is to take apart a toy car:

Except, of course, it isn’t. At least not for me. What I discovered was that you need a cobalt drill bit if you’re planning on going though anything metal, otherwise all you’ll do is lock your drill bit and say nasty words. Once you get a cobalt drill bit a little bit bigger than your rivet, start drilling on a low setting and you’ll eventually get there.

Anyway, once de-riveted, I set about adding wire mesh, weapons and armor to the cars. Never mind the pickup truck for now, I had other plans for him.

Here they are completed: Bully-boy, Bullwhip and Stagger Lee! Bully-boy has a front-mounted machine gun and a forward ram. Bullwhip is actually the official name for the Hot Wheels car I used, and it sounds cool enough that I don’t need to rename it. He has front-mounted machine guns and a caltrop or oil slick dropper. Stagger Lee, the converted ’57 Chevy, has front-mounted machine guns and a nitro booster.

Of course, I then, quite innocently, found myself at a place where they sell yet more Hot Wheels cars. So I bought three more.

After the usual conversion process, I present the results:

I present: Surrender, Dorothy!, Black Betty (Bam-a-Lam) and Red Asphalt! Surrender, Dorothy! is equipped with a heavy machine gun and smoke launchers (much like Coughin’ Joe), Black Betty has a front-mounted rocket launcher, and Red Asphalt has a front-mounted machine gun and an oil-slick dropper (or a nitro boost, depending on how I feel).

Together with my first Gaslands build, Coughin’ Joe, that makes seven cars in total. More than enough to play the game with a friend! (Note to self: make some friends.)

If you’ve been following my Gaslands build posts thus far, my painting technique should be pretty familiar. Basically, the cars all get weathered and highlighted the same way: after applying my chosen colors, they are all washed with Nuln Oil. All the armor and metal bits are painted either with Gunmetal Grey, Gun Metal or Tin Bitz, then washed with Nuln Oil, Armor Wash or Agrax Earthshade. Then I apply some Stirland Mud, Typhus Corrosion and usually some MIG rust pigment to weather they cars further. And that’s pretty much it.

Wondering about that Ford F-150 Pickup? Well, next post you’ll see what I did with it. For those of us in the United States, here’s a hint…

“Sunday! Sunday! SUNNDDAAAAAY!!!!!!”

Gaslands 3: Marstorius!

Well, I said I would post something that wasn’t Gaslands, but I lied. I’m too hooked. My Gaslands kitbashing continues on, with my first “big boy”. Ladies and gentlemen of the wasteland, I present: MARSTORIUS!!!!

I got the name from an old fighting game. Marstorius was a big wrestler from Fighter’s History. Here he is giving a bull a suplex, because as everyone knows, bulls are assholes. Marstorius was a poor imitation of Zangief; but that’s hardly surprising as Fighter’s History was a poor imitation of Street Fighter II. I like the name, and it fits my latest project nicely.

I need a bully: someone whose sole purpose is to ruin the day of anyone he meets. Someone who can dish out a curb-stomp like no one else, but can also take whatever punishment comes his way with a bloody, gap-toothed smile. In other words, I need an armored bus.

I started with this fire truck. It’s not a Hot Wheels or Matchbox; it’s sold at CVS and made by a Chinese company that makes cars that are (mostly) compatible with 28mm miniatures. In fact, I own a lot of those cars and you can see them on After Action Reports all over this blog, if so inclined. This fire truck is the same size as most of their cars, which of course means it’s totally out of scale (i.e. too small) with the rest of their line, but it is perfect for “Hot Wheels” scale, as it’s much bigger than a standard Hot Wheels car (about the size a fire truck would be next to a HW car). Hopefully that makes some kind of sense.

Anyway, the first thing I did was remove the side ladder, the siren lights and the extending ladder. The extending ladder could come in handy for use as scenery in other games. Removing it left me with an empty bracket on a 360° rotating platform, which is perfect for a turret emplacement.

 

Many of the scenarios in Gaslands are races, or variations thereof. Being an armored bus, Marstorius won’t win any races, but that’s not his job. His job is to make sure YOU don’t win any races.

With that in mind, I attached a turret from a Matchbox tank to the extending ladder mount, giving it a heavy machine gun with a 360° field of fire. This will allow targeting pretty much anywhere in range. Then I added the armor. Lots of styrene sheeting, craft foam and plastic mesh slapped all over this baby. It’s armored EVERYWHERE. I had some leftover rubber gaskets I had bought to replace on my outdoor faucets, so I cut them and fitted them around the wheel-wells of the truck so the armor panels wouldn’t be attached to the truck directly, and wouldn’t affect wheel rotation.

I knew I wanted a ram on the front, so I went with this buzzsaw arm. It’s an extra bit I had from an Armorcast Frank-N-Steam model I bought years ago. They don’t seem to make that model anymore, but it’s a variation of the other “Frank” models, only with two legs. I can just see Marstorius turning any vehicle foolish enough to get in his way into an instant convertible! I stuck a searchlight on the top and some auto-launchers on the back, both from old Leman Russ tank sprues. (Gotta love the bitz box!) The auto-launchers represent caltrop droppers, lest any pursuers get too close. It is unwise to tailgate Marstorius.

In Gaslands, a bus has 3 Build slots. The heavy machine gun, caltrop droppers and the front buzzsaw (ram) take up a slot each, which means the armor I festooned Martsorius with is pretty much just for show. If I wanted to make him tougher, I could forego the caltrop droppers for some extra armor instead, making him more like a war rig than a bus. He’s certainly big enough!

Here’s how he looks painted up. I used a mix of Army Painter, Cote D’Arms, Games Workshop, Reaper and Vallejo paints. Marstorius’s body and the turret is based with Necromancer Cloak (AP), with a highlight of Ash Gray (R) and Concrete Gray (R), then given a wash of Agrax Earthshade (GW). The armor plating was painted with either Gunmetal Grey (V), Gun Metal (CD) or Tin Bitz (GW) before being washed with Armor Wash (CD). The buzzsaw wires were painted various colors and given a wash of Nuln Oil (GW). I used some Stirland Mud and Typhus Corrosion (both GW) to further the grimy look. Lastly, I used some MIG rust pigment on the armor and body.

It’s not as obvious as I would like, but I painted this skull visage on the front of Marstorius’s cab. It’s tough to see behind the buzzsaw arm, but it’s there. I painted it with some watered-down white paint to simulate a spray paint effect.

I decided to add some other small touches, like this hash-mark tally of the vehicles Marstorius has sent to the junk heap. I free-handed the grafitti on the armor panels and searchlight and added the bullet holes with a Dremel.

Here are some shots showing some more battle damage. Marstorius tends to attract gunfire.

Another shot showing the rotation of the turret. That’s an old GW tank decal on his rear side panel.

Overall, I’m happy with my armored bus. I have some other cars in the works, so watch this space for more Gaslands conversions, coming soon!

Gaslands 2: Nitro Burn and Oil Can Harry!

I was warned this would happen. I have officially been bitten by the Gaslands bug. I guess that’s why I decided to convert some buggies next.

These are what I started with. I bought both of these cars brand new (a dollar apiece at soon-to-be-gone Toys R Us). The one on the left is a Hot Wheels car, the one on the right is Matchbox. Both are open-topped buggies. I really like the look of the one on the right. It has two front seats and a raised back seat, perfect for a gunner!

Buggies are light vehicles in Gaslands, meaning they’re pretty much just there to cause as much trouble as possible before they blow up.  I put minimal armor on the frames, since armoring up a buggy is a waste of a build slot, IMO. Still, I wanted the overall “Road Warrior” aesthetic…

Nitro Burn, on the left, had that ridiculous I-don’t-know-what on his roof, so I got rid of that immediately. For “armor”, I glued some some wire mesh to his canopy and some styrene to his back window. I gave him a GW storm bolter as a front-mounted machine gun and stuck a flamer tank to the side as a nitro booster.

Oil Can Harry, on the right, got two space marine bolters mounted on his roll cage as machine guns. I made an oil slick dropper from an old heavy flamer nozzle (pointed downward) and some flamer tanks. For “armor”, I covered his front and side windows with plastic mesh, and gave him a spiky front bumper.

Here’s what they look like after some painting and weathering. After priming both black, I used a mixture of Reaper, Cote D’Arms, Vallejo, Army Painter and GW paints. Nitro Burn got a basecoat of Black Red (V), highlighted with Rusty Red (R), while Oil Can Harry was based with Dusky Grape (R) and highlighted with Faded Purple (R). The metal on both buggies was Gunmetal Grey (V) and the wheel rims and guns were Gun Metal (CD). The gun casings were painted Necromancer Cloak (AP). The colors on both got a wash of Nuln Oil (GW), while the metallics were washed in Armor Wash (CD). I also used some Dawnstone, Administratum Grey and Tin Bitz (all GW) to pick out some dinged up and rusted spots. I used some Stirland Mud and Typhus Corrosion (both GW) where it made the most sense. Lastly, I applied some MIG Rust pigment to all the “armor” and to the rims.

As a final touch, I decided to have a little fun with Nitro Burn. I attached an old GW Fantasy round shield to his rear, painted up like a smiley face. I figure Nitro Burn likes to live dangerously. He likes to taunt his opponents by speeding ahead of them, forcing them to look at that infuriating yellow smile. Naturally, that face is a prime target for weapon fire, so I drilled a small hole and stuck an arrow in it, no doubt fired by some enraged wasteland scavver!

My next Gaslands project is a doozy, but I think I’m going to try to paint something non-Gaslands related first.

But I make no promises.

 

 

 

First Gaslands Build: Coughin’ Joe!

I discovered Gaslands by reading Miniature Wargames magazine a couple of months back. It’s a game of post-apocalyptic vehicular combat put out by Osprey.  It’s designed to be played with standard Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars that you convert into Mad Max-esque death machines, and it looks like a lot of fun.

While my experience with Osprey Games has been hit-or-miss so far, I figured why not give it a shot? After all, the entry cost to a game like this is minimal; you only need the rules and a bunch of toy cars to play. The rules are reasonably priced at under $20, and toy cars are easy enough to come by. They’re pretty cheap even brand new, and better still; there are tons of thrift shops, flea markets and secondhand stores where you can pick up used and banged up toy cars for even less! (If you have kids, you can probably find a bunch laying around your house on inconvenient places, like stairs.) You’re going to convert them anyway, and cosmetic damage is the look you’re going for!

I went by a thrift shop and bought a bag of 6 cars for $3.00. It contained this car, a “Plymouth Hemi Cuda” by Maisto.  I actually know a guy who owns a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda. He drove it all through high school and still has it to this day, some 30 years later. It gets about 3 miles to the gallon, but it’s absolutely the coolest car I’ve ever been in, and it hauls balls, to put it mildly.

I decided this is going to be my first Gaslands conversion.

Images abound on the Interweb of Gaslands vehicles; simply Google “Gaslands” and you’ll see for yourself. There are also many Youtube videos to view on the subject. One particular creator, JH Miniatures, does a terrific series entitled Wastelands Workshop. It’s a bit technical, but you don’t need to get as fancy as he does. I highly recommend his videos.

If you’re like me, i.e. an obsessive hoarder of bits from previous kits, then rejoice, for Gaslands is the game for you. I played a lot of Warhammer 40K back in the day, using Space Marines (of course) and Imperial Guard. In other words, I have a lot of old vehicle bits that have been sitting in boxes for a very long time. But you don’t need to have a ton of fancy bits like me, or be as technically savvy as JH Miniatures to get to work on Gaslands conversions. DM Jim over at Game Terrain Engineering does a bunch of Gaslands videos, and this one in particular shows how to use common junk items as weapons and armor. Good stuff!

But back to me…I decided not to go too crazy with my first car. I’ve opted to use some bolters from some old Rhino kits and smoke launchers from a Leman Russ tank as conversion bits. The bolters are machine guns, and the smoke launchers could represent turbo boosters, caltrop or glue droppers, oil dispensers, or…well, smoke launchers, which is what I’m going to use them for. Coughin’ Joe, get it?

For armor, I used some old material I had laying around: these textured craft foam sheets. Each package cost me a dollar, and you get six different texture patterns. Four of these have patterns that are useless (like the one pictured), but there are two that could work.

The orange stuff is the craft foam. It’s easy as pie to cut and glue, and the grid pattern makes it look industrial enough to serve as armor. I also clipped some plastic mesh from a needlepoint sheet (I think that cost a dollar, too), and glued it around the front wheel wells to offer the tires some protection.

The smoke launchers glued easily to the back of the car. The bolters have little mounting pegs on them, so I decided to drill tiny holes to accommodate the pegs. This was surprisingly difficult, even with my Dremel on max rpm. Turns out I needed a cobalt drill bit to get through the car. One quick trip to Home Depot sorted that out, and voila! Front mounted machine guns!

Once assembled (it took less than 20 minutes, not counting my trip to Home Depot), I primed it black.

I used a mixture of Vallejo, Cote D’Arms and GW paints. I based the car in Military Green (V) and highlighted it with Cayman Green (V) before giving it a thorough wash in Nuln Oil (GW). I painted the armor plating Gunmetal Grey (V) and the guns and wheel rims with Gun Metal (CD) and washed all the metallics with Armour Wash (CD). Then I liberally applied some MIG rust pigments to the armor sections and the rims. I used some Stirland Mud (GW) on the wheel wells and the front and rear bumpers. A light drybrush of Dawnstone (GW) on the windows, and that was that.And here he is, in all his grimy glory…Coughin’ Joe!

Rear view. Most people never see this on account of the thick black smoke pouring out of those launchers…

If you see this in your rear-view mirror, you’re about to get shot. A lot.

I read somewhere that it’s easy to get addicted to converting cars for Gaslands, and I am already hooked. I have a bunch of toy cars and bits scattered around my hobby space as we speak. More Gaslands conversions soon!

 

Terror of the Toyman! Part 1

When it comes to superheroes, Superman isn’t one of my personal favorites. Of course, if I could be any superhero, I’d definitely pick Superman for x-ray vision alone (but having super-strength, invulnerability and flight wouldn’t suck either).  Despite this I never really found him all that interesting on his own.

That’s because it seems there are only three main ways to challenge Superman’s obvious superiority. Take away his powers (à la kryptonite), hit him with magic or mental manipulation (à la Mr. Mxyzptlk), or just be tougher and stronger than him (à la Doomsday).

The Toyman doesn’t really fit any of these criteria, and yet, he’s primarily considered a “Superman” villain.

For those not all that familiar with the Toyman, I could write a brief description of the character here. Or, I could just block quote and attribute a perfectly good description that needs no editing or embellishment. So, from DAMN Good Coffee, the blog of  Mr. Charles Skaggs, I present his description of the Toyman:

Created in 1943 by Don Cameron and Ed Dobrotka, The Toyman first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #64 as Winslow Percival Schott, a criminal who used various toy-themed devices and gimmicks when committing crimes. After Superman’s continuity was relaunched following the Crisis on Infinite Earths event miniseries and John Byrne’s The Man of Steel miniseries, The Toyman was reimagined in Superman (vol.2) #13 as an unemployed British toymaker who blames Lex Luthor for being fired from a toy company.

Years later, The Toyman became a darker, more sinister character who abducted and murdered Adam Morgan, the son of Cat Grant.  The character was reimagined once again in Action Comics (vol.1) #865 as a toymaker who lived with his wife Mary and agrees to sell his shop after Mary is killed in a car accident.  After learning that the buyer lied to him, Schott proceeds to bomb the business with an explosive teddy bear and Mary is revealed as one of his first robotic creations.

I can add nothing of substance to Mr. Skaggs’s words. That’s pretty much the history of the Toyman.

However, my favorite version of the Toyman is this one from the DC animated universe. This version is the unnamed son of Winslow Schott, and is obsessed with revenge against mob boss Bruno Mannheim, who he blames for his father’s imprisonment and eventual death, and his own miserable foster home upbringing as a result. He wears this creepy doll head and you never see his real face.

Anyway, about a year ago, I got an idea for a Supersystem 3 scenario featuring the Toyman. But, now I play Super Mission Force pretty much exclusively, and SMF being predominantly a game of Supers combat, I was in a quandary as to how to effectively use Toyman against Superman. After all, he has no super powers, and Superman could pretty easily wipe the floor with him in a straight-up fight. Toyman could, of course, have some super-tough toys for Superman to brawl with, but that just seemed kind of boring and not very imaginative.

I decided that Toyman isn’t really a threat to Superman, but he could easily be a threat to normal people. Protecting normal folks is what Superman is all about, so what if, for the purposes of the scenario, Superman had to protect as many civilians as possible? An idea took shape…

But first, if I was going to use the Toyman, I would need some toys. Behold what I found at the local dollar store:

For a grand total of $3.oo, I purchased these cool rock’em, sock’em robot finger puppets and some cars I could cannibalize. Some nippy cutters and superglue later, here is the result:

Instant toy-themed robot menace!

I did a quick search for a Heroclix version of Toyman. Sadly, it seems Wizkids don’t have the rights to the DC animated universe (Knight Models does, I think…) so I couldn’t get a version of the doll-head wearing Toyman that I like. I had to settle for this guy:

Not a bad start, and it naturally got me thinking about Christmas, which would be an ideal time of year for Toyman to start some trouble. With that in mind, I did a quick repaint and scoured my miniatures for other things that could be used as deadly toys.

My repaint is in the center. I purchased some (sadly OOP) Parroom Station clockwork soldiers (in the back) from Matt Beauchamp of Hydra Miniatures, and I took advantage of Armorcast’s 20% off Christmas sale to pick up the Santa bot. I already owned Wyrd’s Teddy from the Malifaux line.  I just needed to paint him, and I did.

Turns out these Hydra War Rocket Galacteer fighters are just the right scale to double as deadly toy planes. So I planned on using them, too.

If Christmas was to be the backdrop for the scenario, I would need some thematic scenery, like piles of presents! I thought a ring box would make a good giant present (from which something deadly could emerge). I bought some wood cubes from an art store and glued them together in random formations. A little red, white and green craft paint and I’d be good to go.

I figure once I’m done with this scenario, I can repaint the blocks to use as crates and boxes for warehouse scatter terrain.

Stay tuned! Scenario to follow next post!